Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jihad Explained

A review of Jesus, Jihad and Peace by Michael Youssef:

The idea of forced conversion is hard for Christians to grasp.  After all, Jesus told us His kingdom was not of this world.  Jesus also asked people to follow Him, but compelled no one.  Therefore, Christians need Michael Youssef to explain to us that Islam is not only a religion--it is a complete political and economic system hell-bent on global conquest.

As much as Americans especially would love to deny the truth and embrace peace, they must know who is coming after them.  This book is especially important in light of escalating attacks on Christian minorities by ISIS.  The author covers theology (Allah vs. Jehovah) and eschatology (who is the Mahdi?) as well as political divisions within Islam, e.g. Sunni and Shiite.  The global caliphate is explained along with many passages of the Koran.

Youssef does not leave us in despair, however.  The last chapter offers "God's Peace Plan" which is available to all who will accept it.

I received a free review copy of this book from Worthy Publishing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Different Perspective on the Story of Esther

The story of Esther has often been told from her perspective, but Lynn Austin undertook to offer a view through the eyes of Ezra and the other exiles who lived outside the Persian palace.  This historical fiction is based on the Old Testament accounts and fleshed out with fictional characters as well as fictional interactions with real people such as Ezra.

I thought the book was a bit long and wandering, but good overall.  Some of the characters were more compelling than others. This is certainly a fine book to keep in your church library's fiction collection.  It is Book 2 in the Restoration Chronicles series.

I received a free review copy of Keepers of the Covenant from Bethany House.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Reading for Encouragement

Seeking Human Kindness is a book to pull out when the evening news gets too disturbing or you've had a rough day at work.  We all need to be reminded that our lives and our actions do make a difference in a big world that often seems out of control.

Stories were collected from many writers living on all the inhabited continents.  The stories they tell take place in poor countries and prosperous, rural areas and urban, and among the young and the old.  There is truly an encouraging word for anyone somewhere in this collection.

I received a free review copy for my honest review and can recommend it for your reading without reservation.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Interior Decorating for Bookworms

Many novels set the stage by describing the houses and rooms in which the characters live and work.  Lisa Borgnes Giramonti has captured literary themes such as home and nature to create rooms that could come from a number of novels.  She does not try to recreate a specific room from a particular novel, but rather seeks to capture recurring moods/themes from novels such as "The Professor's House" by Willa Cather and "David Copperfield" by Dickens.

Get ideas for kitchens, living rooms, libraries (of course!) and more.  This is also a lovely coffee table book.

I received a free review copy of Novel Interiors from Blogging for Books.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Compelling and Clean: Christian Romance

I am not generally a romance reader, but I am glad I found this Christian romance series by Pat Simmons.  As a pro-life mother of six, I was hooked from the very beginning--a look into Cheney's past.  I had to know what happened next!  

The characters were rich with personality and had real problems to solve. There were plenty of secrets and I kept turning pages to see when the characters would figure things out.  Cheney's neighbor lady was especially interesting.

Contemporary issues are confronted by the protagonists: post-abortion trauma, premarital sex, and the need for loving foster homes for traumatized children. Temptation, forgiveness, and restoration are themes throughout. 

I recommend this series to church libraries and home libraries alike.  Diversify your collection with some excellent African-American romance with a Christian perspective.  

As of today, Guilty of Love is free on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Q & A about Satan, Demons, and Hell

This short book (under 150 pages) answers important questions Christians have about demonic possession or oppression, limits to Satan's power, and much more.  You can know you are a follower of Christ (this book tells you how if you are not sure) and you can know that Jesus already won the victory.  You can also know how to behave in a world that is still a mixture of good and evil.

This book successfully walks the line between giving Satan too much credit (or showing too much fascination with him) and minimizing the dangers posed by Satan.  C.S. Lewis warned of both extremes and so does this book.  Dr. Mark Muska answers questions from Scripture.  He is also honest about the limits of what we know from Scripture and does not speculate where God has not chosen to inform us.

I received a free review copy of this book from Bethany House and recommend it for church libraries, Sunday School teachers, and home libraries.

Improve Your Thinking

The Illuminator by Rajith Rajappan has been a #1 best seller in the philosophy/reference category at Amazon.  I recommend it as an interesting read for the person who wants to be more focused on the present and the task at hand.  As a person who has lived over fifty years surrounded by a swarm of ideas buzzing around my head constantly, this is certainly a discipline I’ve needed to develop more fully.

My favorite chapter is Chapter 5, which opens with a Theodore Rubin quote: “Happiness does not come from doing easy work, but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.” By remembering times I experienced that afterglow, I can appreciate the rewards that come from really being present in whatever I am doing right now.

I received a free review copy of this book for my honest opinion.  The Illuminator is an affordable investment in your own life.  Improve your intuition, self-confidence, and focus with some basic exercises and principles appropriate for those of any religious faith.